At the end of The Old Man and the Sea, the exhausted Santiago removes his mast from his skiff, and haltingly drags it up the beach to his shack by resting one end of the cross on his shoulder. The position in which Santiago carries the mast exactly mirrors the position in which Jesus Christ was forced to drag his cross on the way to his crucifixion. The mast, then, becomes a symbol for the cross, and cements the parallel that Hemingway sets up between Santiago's ordeal and Christ's.
The Mast Quotes in The Old Man and the Sea
The The Old Man and the Sea quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Mast. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one: Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Scribner edition of The Old Man and the Sea published in 1952.).
Day Four Quotes
He started to climb again and at the top he fell and lay for some time with the mast across his shoulder.